|Publication number||US7871400 B2|
|Application number||US 11/695,805|
|Publication date||Jan 18, 2011|
|Filing date||Apr 3, 2007|
|Priority date||Jan 2, 2007|
|Also published as||CN101621975A, CN101621975B, DE602007003178D1, EP1941853A1, EP1941853B1, US20080161766, WO2008081237A1|
|Publication number||11695805, 695805, US 7871400 B2, US 7871400B2, US-B2-7871400, US7871400 B2, US7871400B2|
|Inventors||Gabriele SABLONE, Massimiliano LOMBARDI, Cristian GIULIANI, Dario GALANTE|
|Original Assignee||Fameccanica.Data S.P.A.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (19), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (33), Classifications (12), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority from European Patent Application No. 07425002.8, filed on Jan. 2, 2007, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The present invention relates in general to sanitary articles of the type that can be worn as pants. This designation is used herein in its widest sense, such as to comprise, for example, diapers for babies, including diapers of the pre-fastened type (of the type commonly referred to as “training pants”) and sanitary towels for incontinence.
Already for some years now, the sector of sanitary articles that can be worn as pants has undergone a substantial modification, above all as regards the structure of the article.
The guideline that has for several years been directing designers of absorbent articles (in particular, as regards baby diapers) is that of rendering the articles increasingly comfortable to wear.
In the pursuit of this objective, basically two technological lines of approach have been developed.
The first line concentrates upon the reduction of the volume of the absorbent core, this being pursued by using increasingly larger amounts of superabsorbent material, sometimes even abandoning altogether traditional absorbent materials (mattresses made of cellulose and/or artificial fibres) in favour of superabsorbent material.
The second approach concentrates instead upon the modification of the structure (so-called “chassis”) of the article itself, which is pursued abandoning the hourglass shape traditionally adopted for articles of this kind to pass to an as a whole T shape, where the central part or stem of the T reproduces the traditional structure of the absorbent article (topsheet, backsheet, and absorbent core set in between), whilst at one end of said central part two side panels are present, the function of which is basically that of closing the sanitary article around the waist of the user, by connecting to one another the opposite ends of the central portion, which is set to form a hollow shape or U shape around the perineal region of the user.
Examples of structures of sanitary articles inspired by said approach are illustrated, for example, in the document No. EP-A-0 669 121 or in the document No. WO-A-95/17871.
The side panels are elasticated closing systems that are particularly complex and sophisticated. To meet completely the needs of use, the side panel must both perform functions of a structural nature (enabling closing of the sanitary article around the legs and around the region of the waist of the user and ensuring the maximum degree of comfort of wear) and enable transpiration, preventing any undesirable phenomena of maceration and scuffing of the skin of the user due to local accumulation of moisture.
The patent literature (of which the documents cited previously evidently constitute merely a very small sample) describes an ample range of shapes and structures of side panels.
To guarantee a good comfort of wear, it has up to now been deemed that the panel should present the outer edge with respect to the article (the top one in the position of use) perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the article (in what follows, for reasons of simplicity, reference will be made above all to diapers for babies), and the inner edge (the bottom one in the position of use) forming an obtuse angle with the longitudinal axis of the article. From this consideration there arises the fact that the two edges, top and bottom, of the side panel do not form an angle of the same amplitude with the central body of the nappy. In other words, the side panel usually has an asymmetrical conformation.
At the moment, the side panels most appreciated by the market are the ones with an anatomical shape, provided with an independent closing element that can be opened, as occurs in the case of the closing systems that adopt a strip or adhesive label traditionally used in articles with a general hourglass conformation.
According to the needs outlined above, the materials commonly used for manufacturing the side panels in question are rather costly.
The above fact ends up by penalizing significantly the technologies that, for making the side panels, envisage starting from a web or strip of raw material, on the sides of which cuts are made shaped with a contour complementary to the contour that it is desired to impart on the side panels.
The main negative aspect of this solution lies in the cost involved, in so far as a very significant part of raw material—which is very costly—is inevitably bound to be discarded.
In general, it should in itself be considered known that, given that it is necessary to cut shaped elements out of a strip or web of raw material, it is possible to select profiles of the elements in question such as to create a situation of geometrical complementarity of the contour of said elements. For example, the document No. FR-A-2 644 694 discloses a solution in which, to produce absorbent sanitary pads or pantie liners for women of the type “with flaps”, the starting point is a web or strip that is cut out lengthwise according to an approximately sinusoidal path of cutting. The two half-strips thus obtained are then turned over and connected back to back so as to obtain a weblike material with the desired contouring, without giving rise to processing waste.
An intrinsic drawback of this type of solution lies, however, in the fact that to the individual elements/articles thus formed there cannot be associated projecting connection elements, if not after the individual articles or elements have been cut out. This limits to a major extent the possibility of choice of the closing elements just to hook-and-loop elements.
The prior art to which reference has been made previously thus leaves unresolved at least one essential problem, i.e., that of providing side panels for sanitary articles that, on the one hand, can be produced without generating process waste of the costly material of which they are made and, on the other, are suited to being equipped (already before cutting of the individual element) with projecting closing elements, such as, for example, adhesive labels or contact (hook-and-loop) labels projecting from the side panel.
According to the present invention, said object is achieved thanks to a side panel for sanitary articles that can be worn as pants having the characteristics recalled in claim 1. Advantageous developments of the invention form the subject of the subordinate claims. The invention also relates to a corresponding sanitary article, as well as to a corresponding method for the production (and application) of said side panels.
The claims form an integral part of the disclosure of the invention provided herein.
The solution described herein enables manufacture of sanitary articles provided with side panels of the type described previously without any processing waste as regards the material constituting the side panels and without any particular limitations as regards the closing formations that can be applied to said side panels. This is accompanied by the additional advantage of being able to carry out in a convenient way, basically via software, change of format, i.e., adaptation of the equipment designed for the production and application of the side panels in question to different formats of article.
The invention will now be described, purely by way of non-limiting example, with reference to the annexed plate of drawings, in which:
Just to clarify the general idea, and without any intention of limiting the scope of the invention, the article 1 can be a pair of diapers or training pants for babies.
The article 1 is here represented in a splayed-out condition and comprises, according to a general conformation to be deemed in itself known:
The specific characteristics of the main body 2 are not in themselves important for the purposes of description and understanding of the solution described herein. It will suffice to recall, by way of summary, that the main body 2 usually comprises:
In general, the article 1 is designed to be worn with the hollow or U-shaped main body 2 in the general condition where it constitutes a crotch portion around the perineal region of the user, the end from which the elements 4 project is located on the front of the user, and the end from which the side panels 3 project is located in a position corresponding to the base of the spine of the user. The side panels 3 can thus extend on the sides of the user in order to come to connect up—typically adhesively or by means of a contact closing of the hook-and-loop type—to the elements 4.
As is well known to persons skilled in the art, in addition to said elements in the main body 2 there are usually present numerous accessory elements, such as elastication elements, layers for acquisition of body liquids (the so-called “acquisition layers”), etc. All this also applies as regards the details of production of the topsheet, backsheet, and absorbent core, according to a practically infinite range of possible variant embodiments. The description provided herein concentrates principally upon the characteristics of the side panels 3. It follows that, as the conformation and characteristics of the main body 2 vary, also the conformation and characteristics of the side elements 4 can vary within a wide range, as documented in the technical literature.
On the other hand, the side elements 4 may even be absent, it being in this case envisaged that the side panels 3 will engage directly with their distal ends the end of the main body 2 set on the front of the user. Even though this solution is hardly ever used in the art, the side panels 3 could be possibly located on the end of the main body 2 that is to be set on the front of the user.
Furthermore, in the case of articles sold “pre-fastened”, i.e., “pre-closed” like the articles referred to as “training pants”, panels are usually provided both in a position corresponding to the front end and in a position corresponding to the rear end of the main body 2 of the absorbent article 1. In this case, the side panels provided on each side of the article are connected to one another in a position corresponding to the respective distal edges.
As will be better appreciated from the view of
The panels 3 are designed to be connected to the main body 2 according to known modalities—for example via heat-sealing or gluing, for example with glue of the hot-melt type—and are made of an elastic/elasticated material with characteristics of transpirability: in regard to these aspects see, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,572,595 or U.S. Pat. No. 6,994,761.
The side panels 3 hence present a generally tapered pattern starting from their proximal edge 5, connected to the main body 2, towards their distal edge 6. In a position corresponding to said distal edge, applied on the panel 3 is a connection formation 7, constituted, for example, by a label initially folded back and closed to form a U on the side panel 3 (see
The side panels 3 are hence identical to one another and designed to be exposed on the two opposite sides of the main body 2 of the article 1 in conditions of specular symmetry with respect to the principal longitudinal axis X1 of the article 1.
The major and minor bases of the scalene trapezium identify then the proximal edge 5 and the distal edge 6 of the panel 3, respectively.
Within each panel 3 there may then be distinguished an outer side b, b′ (facing the outside of the article 1 and designed to occupy a top position in the article 1, when this is worn by the user), which forms an angle β with respect to the direction orthogonal to the antero-posterior principal axis X1 of the article.
In the embodiment referred to in
An important characteristic of the solution described herein lies in the fact that, even though the angles β and β1 could tend to 0, thus being perpendicular with respect to the axis X1, the choice of a value different from 0 (in particular, it will be noted that the relation β=β1<α, =α1 applies) facilitates manufacture of the elements 3 resorting to traditional mechanical knives.
Of course, cutting of the sides a, a′ and b, b′ can be performed using laser techniques.
The representation of
For example, the left-hand part of
In particular, illustrated in the left-hand part of
In the right-hand part of
The panels 3 arranged on the two sides of the body 2 will usually present the same geometrical shape so as to give rise to a general specular symmetry with respect to the principal axis X1.
Illustrated schematically in
That characteristic is common to all the embodiments illustrated herein and, as will be seen more clearly in what follows, has the advantage of eliminating the production waste of the side panels.
According to that characteristic—whatever the specific pattern of the sides a, a′, b, b′ (i.e., rectilinear, as in the case of
Expressed even more simply (see once again the right-hand part of
Usually, the labels 7 can be folded back on the opposite edges of each web or strip 30 according to a general V-shaped configuration so as not to project appreciably with respect to the web 30 itself, which is to be subjected, in a shaped-cutting unit 100, to an operation of cutting with the characteristics described in greater detail in what follows. Application of the labels 7 on the web 30 is performed according to criteria in themselves known, which do not require any further detailed description herein. In this regard, it will be appreciated in particular that the preparation of the web 30 with the labels 7 applied on the opposite edges of the web in staggered positions is suited to being performed both as a step of an “on-line” process, performed at a preliminary level with respect to the subsequent operations that will be explained in what follows, and in the form of an “off-line” operation, performed at points in time and/or space different from those of the subsequent operations.
The cutting unit 100 (which can be either a mechanical cutting unit, for example one with rotary knives, or a laser cutting unit, for example of the type described in EP-A-1 447 068 or in the European patent application No. 05425450.3) enables cuts to be obtained, in each of the strips 30, in a position between the labels 7, which—whatever their specific shape or path—are roughly oblique with respect to the direction of advance of the strips 30. These cuts are designated in
The cutting unit 100 intervenes on each web or strip 30 so as to perform, in alternating sequence:
When, as in the case illustrated, a cutting unit 100 is used, designed to operate in parallel on two strips 30, both the movement of advance of the strips 30 and the course of the operations of cutting on the two strips are synchronized in such a way as to cause, as will immediately be appreciated better from the right-hand part of
Once again from the right-hand part of
It will, on the other hand, be appreciated that the same result that may be obtained by rotating the panels through 180° in their plane of lie can be obtained by reversing or overturning the aforesaid panels, i.e., so that the face of the panel situated originally in the top position will end up occupying one in the bottom position, and vice versa. This result can be obtained, for example, by overturning the panels 3 through 180° about their longitudinal central axis, parallel to the edges 5 and 6.
The experiments conducted by the present applicant show that the rotation through 180° in the plane of lie currently constitutes a preferred solution. The sequel of the description will hence make reference to said solution, which involves rotation of the panels in their plane of lie.
Of course, in order to be able to carry out this operation of rotation of one panel out of two, precisely because the panels 3 exit from the cutting unit 10 juxtaposed without any solution of continuity, it is necessary to proceed to setting the various panels 3 apart in their direction of advance.
The above operation, on the other hand, becomes in any case necessary in view of the subsequent application on the central body 2 of corresponding sanitary articles, such as the article 1 of
More precisely, in order to proceed to application of the panels 3 on corresponding sanitary articles 1, it is necessary to carry out two operations:
As regards the operation of spacing (or to use a term widely adopted in the sector, “repitching”), two basic considerations are involved:
The dynamics of the operation of “change of format” necessary for adapting the spacing pitch of the panels 3 to the dimensions of the corresponding articles is rather wide: for example, the spacing pitch required for the application on the article may easily range between 360 mm and 600 mm.
The aforesaid operations of “repitching” and rotation of the panels 30 through 180° in their plane of lie can be performed by resorting to equipment in itself known. For example, just to limit our considerations to the patent documents filed in the name of the present applicant, as regards the operation of repitching it is possible to resort, for example, to the solutions described in EP-A-1 179 495 and in the European patent application No. 05425692.0.
As regards, instead, the movement of rotation through 180°, it is possible to resort, for example, to a development of the solution described in EP-A-0 997 123. Of course, in referring to said prior patent document, it must be taken into account that, in the solution described in said prior document, all of the gripping elements designed to act on the articles subjected to rotation are configured in such a way as to effect a movement of rotation. In the specific case considered here, it will of course be envisaged that, the modes of gripping on the panels 3 remaining unvaried, the rotary device will be configured in such a way that one gripping element “shoe” out of two will remain fixed, without rotating, since the movement of rotation must be applied only on one panel out of two.
It will again be appreciated that the representation of the function of rotation of the device 300 provided in
In principle, the operations of repitching and rotation of one panel 3 out of two could be performed, for example, bringing first the panels 3 to the final desired spacing pitch, and then proceeding to rotation of one panel out of two according to the modalities described previously.
The above desired result is achieved using just two units, namely, a repitching device (which can be of an adjustable type, i.e., such as to enable selective variation of the pitch of separation of the articles at output) and a rotary device, arranged cascaded to one another.
The present applicant has found that, in contradiction to this evident approach, it is advantageous to proceed by carrying out first a repitching of the panels 3 with a pitch P1 that is much larger than what in itself would be required to prevent the panels 3 from interfering with one another during rotation through 180° of one panel out of two.
As illustrated schematically in
In other words, the first repitching device 200 operates in such a way as to separate the panels 3 by a distance P1, for example, in the region of 70-100 mm, both in the case where they are panels 3 designed to be applied on baby diapers and in the case where the panels 3 are designed to be applied on sanitary towels for incontinent adults.
Once this first repitching operation with a fixed pitch P1 (referred to in
The corresponding operation of orientation is such as to bring all the panels 3 to assume the same orientation, i.e., with the shorter distal sides 6 on which the labels 7 are applied facing outwards.
At output from the rotary device 300 of
At this point, the panels 3, oriented according to the final desired orientation, are fed to a further repitching unit 400, which is also made according to criteria in themselves known, i.e., according to the criteria already recalled previously with reference to the repitching assembly 200.
An important difference is that, whereas the repitching unit 200 is configured in such a way as to bring the panels 3 at output therefrom to have a separation pitch P1 that is fixed, the repitching unit 400 is made in such a way as to be able to enable selective variation of the pitch of separation between successive panels 3 according to the specific needs of application on the respective sanitary articles.
In particular, this “final” pitch of separation corresponds, as illustrated schematically in
The fact of performing the spacing of the panels 3 in two steps, first separating them with a fixed pitch P1 and then adjusting (after rotation of one panel out of two) the pitch of separation to the desired value P2 enables both exploitation of the motor of the repitching unit 400 to be optimized and the operation of adaptation (“change of format”) to be rendered more convenient when the dynamics of variation of the final pitch P2 becomes particularly wide.
Assuming—of course merely by way of example—that it is necessary to take into account possible variations of the pitch P2 in the range between 360 and 600 mm, there may be hypothesized, for example, a solution in which the first repitching unit 200 brings the pitch P1 between the panels 3 to a (fixed) value of 70 to 100 mm.
Any adaptation (if necessary) to values of the pitch P2 different from the value of P1 is then entrusted to the second repitching unit 400. This intervention can, for example, require the unit 400 to “gain”, starting from a value of P1 of, for example, 100 mm, another 260 to 500 mm required to arrive (according to the article on which the panels are applied) at a pitch P2 comprised in the range between 360 and 600 mm.
As an alternative (according to the specific needs of implementation and of the ranges of articles that it is intended to produce), it is also possible to envisage configuring the first unit 200 in such a way as to cause the pitch P1 to be such that the second repitching unit 400 will perform its function not in the sense of an increase of the spacing (for example to “gain” more millimetres of separation, as in the case considered previously, to reach a final value of P2 that is greater than P1), but in the sense of a decrease (for example, to “lose” a few millimetres of separation to reach a final value of pitch P2 that is smaller than P1).
Added to this is the possibility of varying the final value P2 without performing any intervention of replacement of parts in the complex of the units 200, 300 and 400, represented in
Once the desired pitch P2 has been reached at output from the repitching unit 400, the panels 3 are available for being applied on the main body 2 of the sanitary articles.
At this point, the individual articles thus completed advance towards a cutting unit 600 (for example, with reciprocating or rotary knives), which sees to separating the individual articles from one another, completing the process of production thereof.
It will be appreciated that, even though the method illustrated with reference to the sequence of
Consequently, without prejudice to the principle of the invention, the details of construction and the embodiments may vary, even extensively, with respect to what is illustrated herein purely by way of non-limiting example, without thereby departing from the scope of the invention, as defined in the annexed claims.
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|U.S. Classification||604/385.01, 604/396|
|International Classification||A61F13/15, A61F13/20|
|Cooperative Classification||A61F13/49015, A61F13/15699, A61F13/15756, A61F13/565|
|European Classification||A61F13/15M5, A61F13/56C, A61F13/15M7, A61F13/49D2D2|
|May 21, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: FAMECCANICA.DATA S.P.A., ITALY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SABLONE, GABRIELE;LOMBARDI, MASSIMILIANO;GIULIANI, CRISTIAN;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:019321/0442;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070427 TO 20070511
Owner name: FAMECCANICA.DATA S.P.A., ITALY
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SABLONE, GABRIELE;LOMBARDI, MASSIMILIANO;GIULIANI, CRISTIAN;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070427 TO 20070511;REEL/FRAME:019321/0442
|Jun 3, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4